Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rattle and Chain: Night of the Death Hippies

I picked this up from Terry Glavin:

On Wednesday, April 16, Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee co-founder Lauryn Oates will be debating co-chair Derrick O'Keefe. The proposition: "THE CANADIAN MILITARY SHOULD LEAVE AFGHANISTAN AT ONCE".

This debate is part of the Langara Dialogues series, held at the Vancouver Public Library's central branch.

I came, I saw, I conked out. I left the Vancouver Public Library debate this evening after ninety minutes of what moderator David Berner called "a muscular debate," on 'The presence of Canadian armed forces in Afghanistan: Should they stay or should they go?' and I found myself thinking of the political theorist so popular in the 1960s, C. Joseph McDonald, well-know author of thesis and synthesis on war and conflict in Southeast Asia. McDonald wrote, if I recall it properly; "One, two, three, four; what the hell are we fighting for? Five, six, seven, eight; open up the Pearly Gate. Who pee we are all going to die." It was a profound experience I can tell you.

One of Canada's leading intellectuals, Derrik O'Keefe, of Stop War, spoke in favor of Canadian troops leaving Afghanistan immediately or so. He was really really convincing. He said, for example, that the whole imperialist venture is because the Americans, (meaning Bush and his cabal of neo-cons,) are really really greedy and they want to capture Afghanistan so they can control a copper mine. They tried to get it but the Chinese got it instead so it's OK. Americans are bad because they bomb villagers and kill really big numbers of innocent civilians and stuff and the people don't like it and Canada should stop listening to Steven Harper who only does things because Bush tells him to and that's because of the neo-cons. They are bad. And torture? Americans do that to nice people who don't deserve it because they are nice. It's imperialism because some corporations are pulling the strings that-- I don't know-- maybe rip out the fingernails of babies or something, just like typical American war-mongrels do.

War is bad. One might say war is poopy.

We should get out of Afghanistan because America made the Taliban up and now it supports war-lords who sell lots of opium that causes medical problems for the socially marginalized on the streets of Vancouver who don't have homes though they have a right to them and more buses at night too.

Well, I'm bored to tears. I suffered through 90 minutes of puerile nonsense that was supposed to pass as -- What? Wind? I have no idea. Like most of these events, the level of debate was on a level with a Ralph Bakshi cartoon but not as entertaining.

Yes, Ralph Bakshi came to mind as I took mental notes on how to be cool like the award- winning journalist who tried to come across like Dan Brown, author of the DaVinci Code. I'm never going to be cool like him. I must seek counselling, consulting, or consoling or constellations or something. I think I'm hopeless. When I say "Imperialism," I laugh. This evening someone said: "It's an old fashioned word but..." I Am Not Cool. Not fashionable. Why do I even bother to live?

If you missed this important event, well, I ne'vah! Shame on you!

This is an indication of what you missed when you went to the hockey game:

"Whichever way you look at it, nothing changes the fact that between now and 2011, Canadians will be maimed and killed in Afghanistan because the Liberal Party of Canada does not think this is an opportune moment for a federal election and the Conservative Party of Canada insisted on this being a confidence motion. Canadians and Afghanis will die because of partisan politics in Canada. It is tragically shameful."

Now, am I the heartless prick who wrote recently that something or other is shamefully twagic? Hmm. I think maybe yes. Did I have occasion to pick on some pretend-concern about The people! from a Death Hippie? I think again maybe yes. I think I didn't have much sympathy for whoever it was who used the lives of people he doesn't know to make some cheap political statement about something that his pre-fab ideology finds for him offensive. I think maybe yes I get pissed right off when people in the West use peasants in far-off and unknown places as tragically shameful victims who aren't accorded status as or understood as real people. I think really maybe yes I get disgusted by poseurs who show off by talking about how upset they are about "suffering" and the evils of capitalism. I think they make me puke. I think if spoiled fat kids in the West want to promote "social justice" they should find some dark place and go fuck themselves.Cause, cause, cause? Cause there are real people suffering from real injustice that has not a thing to do with fat kids in the West emoting in public.

My vote for the evening's best line goes to Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee co-founder Lauryn Oates who spoke on behalf of charity workers in Afghanistan, of which she is one and has been for 12 years, taking some genuine courage, and more. She condemned the "concerned" as having a morality of the "Do these jeans make my ass look fat?" type.

That was excellent. Even better was the kid who asked if I'm Terry Glavin. I confessed that I am indeed, and that my car had been towed and I needed $20.00 to get to the airport, and if he'd lend it to me he could go to the office tomorrow and the receptionist would pay him back -- and a bit extra for his trouble. GEE zuz. I thought if people are gullible enough to take in Derek's spiel I could get a quick twenty off the kid. Money is worth more than ideas, it seems clear now.

Yeah, actually, there is a real world. It affects real people. Even those in Afghanistan. It's a real nasty world that takes some real nasty bastards to keep it from going to the dogs in-all. And when the good guys walk away, who walks in? George Bush and the neo-cons are bad? Nope-pers; that'd be me, among others. Bush and the neo-cons are bending over back-asswards to be so nice to the Afghanis in power that this is what "imperialism" brings to the Afghan people:

KABUL (AFP) - An Afghan legislative committee has drafted a bill seeking to introduce Taliban-style Islamic morality codes banning women from wearing make-up in public and forbidding young boys from wearing female fashions.
The draft, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, needs approval by both chambers of the Islamist-dominated parliament and President Hamid Karzai signature to become a law.
"Women and girls are obliged to not wear make-up, wear suitable dresses and observe hijab (veil) while at work or classrooms," said one article of the draft.
It also aims to ban women dancers performing during concerts and other public events as well as on television.
"The mass media including television and cable networks must avoid broadcasting programmes against Islamic morals," it said without giving details.
In a similar move the parliament, which is dominated by former anti-Soviet Islamist warlords, called earlier this month for a ban on dancing and Indian soap dramas on private television networks.
Men and young boys must avoid wearing bracelets, necklaces, "feminist dresses," and hair-bands, the draft reads.
The proposals also demand an end to dog and bird-fighting, pigeon-flying, billiards and video games, all past times favoured by many Afghans.
It demands separate halls for men and women during wedding parties, while loud music is banned at such gatherings. Afghans hold big and costly get-togethers for weddings, usually in a public hall with music.
If the proposals are passed, violators could be fined 500 Afghanis (10 dollars) to 5,000, according to the draft.
The plans mirror many of the laws introduced by the extremist Taliban regime, which ruled the country from 1996 to 2001 with strict Islamic Sharia law.
From Dhimmi Watch: Agence France-Presse

What we have here is a failure to communicate. We have in a formerly hostile sharia state-- a currently hostile sharia state. Bush and the neo-cons and such are so afraid of upsetting the Muslim world that they allow and even pay for more sharia. Courageous and dedicated people like Lauryn Oates will spend 12 years in Afghanistan or even 120 years and not make a bit of good difference so long as there is no force to affect good change. All the well-intentioned school teachers on Earth can camp out in Afghanistan with freezing peasants while U.N bureaucrats whinge and dine in five star hotels in Kabul, and it will do not a speck of good. School teachers without guns to back up themselves and to save their students from the culture of violence and sharia might as well go to Bahamas' Club Med and have a good time.

So, at the end of this you find me, dear reader, siding with the Death Hippies, in this case. If we invaded a sharia state to reimpose a sharia state we should pack it in and let the real work of real revolutionaries reign. Copper mines in Afghanistan? Give me a break. They have lapis lazuli. That's worth some bucks, and some daring. But you can't mine it in a war zone. That war has to stop. And you can't mine it in a sharia state. That has to stop too.

So, what do you do? Sigh-igh. Death Hippies clappering at the library. All them, rattle and chain.


maccusgermanis said...

...not make a bit of good difference so long as there is no force to affect good change.

Force isn't always necesary to effect change, though I feel ill prepared to debate that the Taleban can be expected to remember something that their "good book" did never say. I can't say that such aid workers will do no speck of good. By example of their work, and even their probable persecution, they challenge the supposed supremacy of islam. But, I can neither expect, nor even advise that such meek revolutionaries put their life in such danger.

If we've not the will to give Afghanis, or even impose, better values than they had already put into barbaric practise then it may be time to pack it in and let the real work of real revolutionaries reign.

Does that mean we have to go filibuster now? Can't we just pose with guns like the cool kids?

Dag said...

I'm always ready to hit the road, even to, as Hamlet terms it, "the undiscovered country." It's all part of the business of living in the real world, one we must leave at some point. I'll be sorry to go, I think, but I don't want to linger for no good reason if duty calls. That first duty is to me alone. My first duty is to be a decent Human being if I can be, which history shows not so much. One never knows, though.

I figure I owe it to myself to do better than nothing in the face of evil, even if the consequences are harsh. Leaving this serious campaign in the hands of government is a big mistake, I do believe. But one must be realistic. Crime might pay, but it really doesn't pay. To filibuster is to be America on the road in force against all odds. Do or don't do, I never know. One might try. Last evening the girl speaking was one who tries to do good. The boy speaking is one who thinks himself good for thinking himself good. In a lawless land it really comes down to guns, not what ones good intentions are.

I love this picture by William Blake at the bottom of the page, "God creates Adam." Straight away the Serpent has Adam. It's a struggle from the start. It never ends in this here life of ours.

Vancouver visitor said...

I am in total agreement with you on the absurdity of replacing one Sharia state with another. If there is no political will from the Allies to compel the Afghans to excise Sharia from the Afghan Constitution (and it is clear that that's the case because the Allies want to maintain the lie that they are fighting against a perverted form of Islam so as not to start a global bloodbath), then Canada should pull out. The pro-war side's argument that Canada should stay till the country is stabilized is just nuts. As long as nothing is done about the root cause, Sharia and Afghan tribalism, there will be no long-lasting stability of the kind Westerners want to see. How does one break the tribes? Perhaps some lessons can be drawn from Celtic history. However, that was when brute force was still very much an accepted instrument for effecting change. In the pampered nanny states that we now live in, any action with a whiff of violence will be violently (pun intended) opposed and sabotaged by the Death Hippies.

maccusgermanis said...

Well unfortunately, the Celtic lesson may be what they have in mind. Wasn't it St. Patrick that, with meekness even, lessoned the importance of the tribe in Ireland? -Columba in Scotland?- Coalition strategists may think that islam can be as unifying as Christianity. And they are right, but don't seem to understand that the ends to, and means by, which islam does unify are very different.

Afghan tribalism is not the root cause. It is more likely one of the few things that does moderate implimentation of sharia. In the most modern nation on earth, I've still clan that I know I can rely on if state and church condemn me.

Dag said...

I wouldn't wish a Battle of Culloden on any people, nor the Clearances; but I am proud of British accomplishments mostly, the united efforts of Scots and Irish and English working as one nation.

I do feel a longing for the independence of the Irish, too, though, as I wish for the freedom of all people. It's not simple, not either or. Maybe we and others can be one and move together toward a universal Americanism of the mind, maybe it'll be something unimaginable of the same kind but different. Or maybe it'll all turn out bad. I like to think, and therefore I like to work toward an optimistic end, and end without a finale, a telos that continue into freedom forever. So one must make a stand and try, however it comes out. I'll try to find a quotation from Kierkegaard I use here often. He sums it up well.

Back to Culloden and the Clearances. Hellish and insane as it was, those who survived are now those who populate America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and a few other successful nations of high Modernity. It certainly wasn't meant to be that way. Mine were meant for extermination. We survived and we are Greatness itself in the world. Others could be us too, Afghans and Iraqis and anyone else. It's in the mind, if the mind is free.

And who can have a mind free in a sharia state? Only one who is protected from Islam, and protected from its physical violence by further physical violence if need be. School teachers, yes, but ones who can survive and protect the lives of their students till students can carry on their own part of this grand adventure into the unknown of life.

Death Hippies condemn the world to ignorance and poverty and murder. I'm not sympathetic to those who do that kind of harm to the innocent. In fact, I'm right hostile to them. All the pretentious moralisms make me ill and angry when I think back to the dead and the crippled and the diseased who could have lived as we do if not for the fact that they live in evil shit-hole nations ruled by savages who destroy lives with impunity. The average Muslim who comes to America to become American is American just like any American because he is American. Anyone can do that. It should be an option for everyone on Earth even if they stay at home and become American in the mind only. The world at large can be America.

I'd fight for that. And I'd stand for anyone who would make it happen, day by day for the duration.

Vancouver visitor said...

Mac, you have a point there. Tribalism impeding the implementation of Sharia. So the question is, do we know what the hell we want from pitting one barbarism against another barbarism?

maccusgermanis said...

Tribal societies, while well suited to guerrilla resistance, have difficulty in projecting force.

And, I fail to see why familial fidelity should be denounced as barbarism. Is family not a sufficient basic organization of individuals, upon which to build more inclusive organizations?

I don't fault Afghans for valuing their sons. I fault them for discounting that value based on gender and/or adherence to the murderous pedophile's teachings.

Vancouver visitor said...

Well, let's see... honor killings; treating women as chattel; consanguineous marriages; settling disputes through blood feuds; concentration of power in the hands of chieftains (warlords) and witch doctors (clerics), who rule by fear and ignorance; general illiteracy; high birth rate; high infant mortality rate; and one of the shortest average life expectancies on the planet. Is that barbaric enough for you?

Anyway, coming back to the main issue. The country is now white men's burden. Do they have a long-term, comprehensive social engineering plan for the country? Looking from the outside, they seem to be just muddling along. Why did they gamble on allowing Sharia to be enshrined in the constitution, which meant an entrenchment of the witch doctors' power?

maccusgermanis said...

I was not arguing that Afghanistan is not barbaric, but rather that tribalism is not the cause.

Honor killings are done according to what is stipulated as honor by islam. If fathers and cheiftans adhered to a philosophy, or religion, that believed in redemption of the dishonorable, and otherwise defined what is dishonorable, then I see no reason to encourage a infidility to family. I do encourage infidelity to islam.

If concentration of power, in the hands of chieftans, is problematic, then why should further concentration of power into the hands of despots be the answer? Women as chattel, consanguineous marriages, and blood fueds can all be addressed without the insistance on further concentration of power. My plan for social engineering would be to heavily arm, apostates, invalids, women, and any other that islam does denigrate, and then let them renegotiate terms in the same way that the Arab commander -whose name I can't now recall- did force the murderous pedophille to renounce himself as a prophet. An enlightened tribalism, could lead to the liberation of province and nation respectivelly.